Shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize: With striking originality and precision, Eden Robinson, the author of the classic Monkey Beach and winner of the Writers’ Trust of Canada Fellowship, blends humour with heartbreak in this compelling coming-of-age novel. Everyday teen existence meets indigenous beliefs, crazy family dynamics, and cannibalistic river otters . . . The exciting first novel in her trickster trilogy.
Everyone knows a guy like Jared: the burnout kid in high school who sells weed cookies and has a scary mom who's often wasted and wielding some kind of weapon. Jared does smoke and drink too much, and he does make the best cookies in town, and his mom is a mess, but he's also a kid who has an immense capacity for compassion and an impulse to watch over people more than twice his age, and he can't rely on anyone for consistent love and support, except for his flatulent pit bull, Baby Killer (he calls her Baby)--and now she's dead.
Jared can't count on his mom to stay sober and stick around to take care of him. He can't rely on his dad to pay the bills and support his new wife and step-daughter. Jared is only sixteen but feels like he is the one who must stabilize his family's life, even look out for his elderly neighbours. But he struggles to keep everything afloat...and sometimes he blacks out. And he puzzles over why his maternal grandmother has never liked him, why she says he's the son of a trickster, that he isn't human. Mind you, ravens speak to him--even when he's not stoned.
You think you know Jared, but you don't.
Haisla/Heiltsuk novelist EDEN ROBINSON is the author of a collection of short stories written when she was a Goth called Traplines, which won the Winifred Holtby Prize in the UK. Her two previous novels, Monkey Beach and Blood Sports, were written before she discovered she was gluten-intolerant and tend to be quite grim, the latter being especially gruesome because half-way through writing the manuscript, Robinson gave up a two-pack a day cigarette habit and the more she suffered, the more her characters suffered. Monkey Beach won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and was a finalist for the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award for Fiction. Son of a Trickster was written under the influence of pan-fried tofu and nutritional yeast, which may explain things but probably doesn't. The author lives in Kitimat, BC.
Shortlisted for the 2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize
A Writers’ Trust of Canada 2017 Summer Reading pick
“Eden Robinson’s Son of a Trickster is a novel that shimmers with magic and vitality, featuring a compelling narrator, somewhere between Holden Caulfield and Harry Potter. Just when you think Jared’s teenage journey couldn’t be more grounded in gritty, grinding reality, his addled perceptions take us into a realm beyond his small town life, somewhere both seductive and dangerous. Energetic, often darkly funny, sometimes poignant, this is a book that will resonate long after the reader has devoured the final page.” —2017 Scotiabank Giller Prize jury (André Alexis, Anita Rau Badami, Lynn Coady and Richard Beard)
“Robinson has a gift for making disparate elements come together into a convincing narrative, breathing myth, lore and magic into otherwise harsh realities. . . . Jared offers readers, particularly First Nations Youth, a comrade in the angst and alienation of their experience. Eden Robinson does much to enhance the growing body of Indigenous Canadian literature, but we need even more—at least a trilogy’s worth.” —Maclean’s
“Only Eden Robinson could make a reader fall in love with a smart-ass, alcoholic, drug-dealing sixteen-year-old. Through protagonist Jared and his dysfunctional family, Robinson teaches us about a kind of love outside of the norm of greeting cards and family sitcoms. Son of a Trickster is a ribald narrative, irreverent and surreal and hilarious and messy. But don’t let the unruly humour fool you—the book also offers a serious contribution to current conversations about decolonization.” —Quill & Quire
“If Raven and Trickster got a show on Netflix, no one could write it but Eden Robinson. Talking ravens, party drugs, deadbeat dads, murderous otters, Doctor Who—nobody brings together pop culture, indigenous culture and myth with more ferocity and humour. Son of a Trickster is my favourite book this year.” —Annabel Lyon, author of The Sweet Girl and The Golden Mean
“Eden Robinson is a writer with a magical touch. Crisp prose, taut dialogue, and a cast of maniacal characters you sure as hell don’t want living next door.” —Thomas King, author of The Back of the Turtle and The Inconvenient Indian
“Son of a Trickster is filled with darkness and squalor and obscenity. And yet, startlingly, it brings the reader to a place of wonder and mystery and magic. It is a story of a boy born into a violent history. It is a story of a boy born into a magnificent culture. Robinson bravely reconciles these oppositions in a story that is equal parts irreverent humour and astute wisdom.” —Heather O’Neill, author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night and Lullabies for Little Criminals